Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, hailed by the The Economist as “opera’s newest star”, has taken the classical music world by storm since winning the much coveted Operalia competition in 2015. Her resounding debuts in all the most prestigious international venues have garnered overwhelming critical attention.
"Listening to Lise Davidsen is like watching a Roger Federer serve: there’s elegance, grace, apparently effortless fluidity… When you get the chance to hear last night’s Royal Opera’s Fidelio, just listen to the repeated “Noch heute”, Leonore’s outburst of joy that she will be allowed into Florestan’s dungeon “this very day”. It’s brutally difficult to sing, with the high G and high A appearing from nowhere, but Davidsen smashes the notes through the middle, soaring above a fortissimo orchestra with radiant timbre and expression. Covent Garden has seen many great role debuts over the years, but I doubt there have been many with quite this level of self-assurance." Bachtrack, March 2020
"Unleashing floods throughout her range, from gleaming, solar high notes to brooding depths, Davidsen offered a nearly supernatural turn in a role out of Greek legend. The radiating, shimmering, ever so slightly metallic overtones that halo her voice make her sound arrestingly powerful and visceral. You feel it as almost physical presence — pressing against your chest, raising the hairs on the back of your neck. Given Strauss’s paring down of his orchestra in “Ariadne” to chamber size, this is the rare occasion when the woman onstage sounds grander at her peak than the forces in the pit do at theirs."
The New York Times, March 2022
“Lise Davidsen, tall enough to be convincing as a boy, was an overwhelmingly thrilling Leonore from start to finish. The moment she opened up her huge, radiant voice which filled the theatre with resounding sound that bounced back with a vengeance, she reminded one, as I heard someone in a neighbouring seat whisper, that ‘this is what opera is all about!’
Opera Now, March 2020
Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, hailed by the The Economist as “opera’s newest star”, has taken the classical music world by storm since winning the much coveted Operalia competition in 2015. Her resounding debuts in all the most prestigious international venues have garnered overwhelming critical attention: “It’s been a long time since a singer has generated as much buzz,” wrote Gramophone in the review of her debut album for Decca, which debuted at number one in the UK Classical charts. Released on 31 May 2019, her recordings of music by Strauss and Wagner inspired the magazine to declare that “she is one of the greatest vocal talents to have emerged in recent years, if not decades.” Since then, she has released two further solo albums on the label to equal acclaim: an orchestral recital featuring Beethoven, Wagner, Verdi and a stunning Grieg recital together with with famed Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.
This season, Davidsen’s many highlights include three major roles debuts: as Marschallin Der Rosenkavalier at the Metropolitan Opera, as Giorgetta Il Tabarro at Gran Teatre del Liceu and as Elisabetta Don Carlo at Royal Opera House, where she also appears as Elisabeth Tannhäuser; and an artistic residency at the Bergen International Festival where she can be heard singing her first Tosca in concert and Verdi Requiem as well as masterclasses and a song recital. Other appearances include Tannhäuser at Staatsoper under den Linden in Berlin and numerous concert appearances in Paris, Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona and at the Verbier Festival.
Last season saw her make a triple appearance at the Metropolitan Opera as Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos, and as Chrysothemis in Elektra. She returned twice to the Wiener Staatsoper as Ellen Offord alongside Sir Bryn Terfel and Jonas Kaufmann in an all-star performance of Britten’s dramatic opera Peter Grimes, as well as Sieglinde Die Walküre; and Leonore Fidelio at Maggio Musicale in Florence under the baton of Zubin Mehta. On the concert platform, she joined Klaus Mäkelä and the Orchestra de Paris for Strauss Op. 27 and was an Artist in Focus at the Barbican, where London audiences saw her in recital with Leif Ove Andsnes; an opera gala evening together with Freddie De Tommaso and pianist James Baillieu and a performance of Berg Seven Early Songs together with the Oslo Philharmonic and Klaus Mäkelä as well as a public masterclass with the students of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She also made her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Kirill Petrenko with Zemlinsky Lyric Symphony and toured together with Leif Ove Andsnes in Madrid, Munich, Vienna, Berlin and at the Bergen and Turku Festivals, earning rapturous reviews for their recital of Grieg, Strauss and Wagner songs. Her solo concerts included Hamburg State Opera, Moscow and the Peralada Festival and in summer 2022 she made another triumphant return to Bayreuth Festival, starring as Sieglinde in the much anticipated new Ring tetralogy and as Elisabeth Tannhäuser.
Despite the Covid crisis, Davidsen’s astonishing ascent has been unstoppable: in August 2020 she was one of the first stars featured by the Metropolitan Opera as part of their celebrated series: Met Stars Live in Concert. Davidsen’s rendition of Grieg En Svane and Ved Rondane from the recital was then broadcast together with the New Year’s Speech of King Harald V of Norway and in April 2021 she was a guest on Norway’s most popular chat show, Lindmo. Shortly after this in May 2021, she re-opened the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, with a solo concert under the baton of Maestro Riccardo Chailly, and Bayerische Staatsoper with a concert performance of the 1st Act of Die Walküre alongside Jonas Kaufmann, and in the same week was awarded Female Singer of the Year by the International Opera Awards. Further highlights include Sieglinde Die Walküre in a new production at Deutsche Oper Berlin and in concert at Opera de Paris; the title role of Jenůfa at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; Elisabeth Tannhäuser at Bayerische Staatsoper; a return to Bayreuth in Tobias Kratzer’s production of Tannhäuser and concert performances of Die Walküre; as well as a Strauss film project with the Norwegian National Opera. On the recital platform, her appearances include recitals at home in Oslo, for the Norwegian National Opera, in Germany at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, in Spain at the Palau de les Arts Valencia; and together with Leif Ove Andsnes in Trondheim and Rosendal Chamber Music Festival in Norway.
Further recent highlights include her widely acclaimed company debut with the Metropolitan Opera as Lisa Queen of Spades, a role she also sang in Stuttgart; Leonore Fidelio in a new production at the Royal Opera House and in concert with Yannick Nezet Seguin and Opéra de Montreal; Elisabeth Tannhäuser at Opernhaus Zürich, Bayerische Staatsoper, and in a triumphant debut at the Bayreuth Festival, where she was hailed by the international press as a “voice once in a century”; the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos at Aix-en-Provence Festival; Wiener Staatsoper and Glyndebourne Festival; Agathe in a new production of Der Freischütz at Opernhaus Zürich; Cherubini’s Medea at Wexford Festival; Santuzza Cavalleria Rusticana and Sancta Susanna in Oslo; and Isabella Das Liebesverbot at Teatro Colon.
Recent concert appearances include Ellen Orford Peter Grimes at the Enescu Festival; Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Gianandrea Noseda and the Wiener Symphoniker for their New Year’s Eve celebration; Verdi Requiem at the BBC Proms with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrés Orozco Estrada, at the Royal Opera House with Sir Antonio Pappano, with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi, and the Philharmonia Orchestra and Bergen Philharmonic both under Edward Gardner; Strauss Op. 27 with Philharmonia and Esa-Pekka Salonen at the BBC Proms and at the Edinburgh International Festival with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko; Strauss Vier letzte Lieder with Orchestre de Paris; the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the Stavanger Orchestra, Copenhagen Philharmonic, and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Die Walküre (1st Act) with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis and with the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra and Edo de Waart; Wagner Wesendonck Lieder and Rückert-Lieder with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra; and Sibelius Luonnotar with the BBC Philharmonic at the BBC Proms. Davidsen was an Artist in Residence with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra during the 2017-18 season when her appearances included an open-air concert, Verdi Requiem and Wesendonck Lieder as well as recital performances. Her many recitals include London (Barbican and the Wigmore Hall), Oslo, Copenhagen and Bergen.
Her discography includes two solo orchestral recitals on Decca as well as a recording of Grieg songs together with fellow Norwegian Leif Ove Andsnes; and complete recordings of Der Freischütz and Fidelio, both released on Pentatone and Sibelius Luonnotar on Chandos.
A 2014 graduate of the Opera Academy in Copenhagen, she has studied under Susanna Eken, previously gaining a degree from the Grieg Academy of Music in Bergen. In 2015, Davidsen was crowned winner of both the Operalia and the Queen Sonja competitions. Her breakthrough performances won her the First Prize, the Birgit Nilsson Award and the Audience Prize at the Operalia competition in London as well as the prize for the best performance of Norwegian music and the Ingrid Bjoner Scholarship at the Queen Sonja International Music Competition. She is also a triple winner at the 2015 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Amsterdam and a recipient of many awards, including the HSBC Aix-en-Provence Laureate, Statoil Talent Bursary Award, Léonie Sonning Music Prize, Danish Singers Award 2014 and the Kirstin Flagstad Award 2015. In 2018, Davidsen was presented with the prestigious Young Artist of the Year Award at the Gramophone Classical Music Awards.
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